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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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New in Theaters
  New to DVD

San Andreas
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

 

American Sniper
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015

Aloha
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015

 

Strange Magic
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

Tomorrowland
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

 

Mortdecai
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

New in Theaters

grade:
C-

San Andreas

Lowest Recommended Age:
Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B

Aloha

Lowest Recommended Age:
High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments
Release Date:
May 30, 2015
grade:
B+

Tomorrowland

Lowest Recommended Age:
4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
Release Date:
May 22, 2015

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New to DVD

pick of the week
grade:
B+

American Sniper

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references
Release Date:
January 16, 2015
grade:
C

Strange Magic

Lowest Recommended Age:
Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG for some action and scary images
Release Date:
January 23, 2015
grade:
D

Mortdecai

Lowest Recommended Age:
Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for some language and sexual material
Release Date:
January 23, 2015

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Batman

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Movie Release Date:1989
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Movie Release Date: 1989

The critical and box office success of The Dark Knight is a reminder to take another look at the last re-booted Batman and Joker, Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s broody re-imagining of a character then best remembered for the campy 1960’s television series. Ledger is sensational in “The Dark Knight,” but so is Nicholson in a performance included in the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 all-time best movie villains. The visuals, the music, and most of all the performances make this movie a very worthy precursor to the current re-imagining of the enduring story.

Interview: Jonathan Levine of ‘The Wackness’

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Jonathan Levine has been getting great reviews for “The Wackness,” the story of the friendship between a teenage drug dealer (Josh Peck) and his customer/therapist (Ben Kingsley). I spoke to him about what inspires him and about what it feels like to direct an Oscar-winning actor with a “Sir” title.

One thing everyone who sees the movie talks about is the specificity of period detail. It is set in 1994, a time so recent that we don’t really remember how much has changed. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone had to use pagers and pay phones instead of cell phones and Nintendo Game Boys instead of PSP.

It’s a fine line. We didn’t want it to become “I love the 90’s” but to have audiences bring their own nostalgia to it it brings an energy. The nostalgia I put in there interacts with yours — that’s all part of it. As long as you’re aware of it and polling when it gets too much then you’re okay. You can see where it becomes a little too much, and we cut some of it out.

You worked with actors from a wide range of backgrounds and your two leads in particular could not have been more different — one a classically trained Oscar-winner with a very long, distinguished career and one coming from a Nickelodeon sit-com. And then there’s Mary Kate Olson who grew up on television. How do you work with them?

I have to figure out how they like to work. It’s almost akin to throwing a party and you want the right people sitting next to the right people. I have to make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible and working in the mode they like to work in. With Olivia (Thirlby) and Josh (Peck), they are closer to my age and I can intuit what they’re going to dig. With Sir Ben I had to ask him how he likes to work and he knows. He knows what environment he flourishes in. He said, “You have to tell me when you’ve got it and then we can play around with a few more.” In the movie frequently it’s one of his first two takes and frequently some of the others. He said to tell Josh that he’s going to be leading our scenes. That made everyone kind of comfortable, empowered us in a way, and it mirrors the dynamic the two characters have in the movie. He told Josh that, then as everyone got more and more comfortable sometimes Sir Ben would take the lead. Working with smart actors makes everything a lot easier. No matter what your kind of background it works as long as you have a shorthand, and it is much easier to communicate with intelligent people. This group was all very easy communicating, even with Mary Kate.

Take Josh, his show is so broad and big and he’s like this Jackie Gleason character. But he has an acting coach he’s worked with for a while and so he has serious training. I had looked him up on YouTube, too, and saw Mean Creek. He’s not afraid to go where he needs to go. He embraces the entire character, foibles and all. There was nothing that had to be taught or learned. We talked about what of his experiences were relevant. Sometimes I would say, “Bring it back a little bit,” or “Do it again.” All I wanted was the most naturalistic thing possible.

Now I see Drake and Josh all the time, it seems to be on whenever I turn on the television. And he’s into some wacky hijinks! To me the one thing after working with him that may have helped him or informed his work here is that he has an accessibility and vulnerability and ability to empathize, and that is what appealed to me. He is not afraid to be vulnerable, to show the all sides of the character good and bad.

I wish I could take credit for his performance, but it’s all him. I can only take credit for casting him.

What were some of the movies or performances that influenced you in thinking about telling this story?

The references I watched during the screenwriting process were looking at May/September buddy movies like Harold and Maude, Rushmore, Wonder Boys, but movies I didn’t watch that were so much a part of who I am and growing up, the ones I tried to capture their spirit, were films by Cameron Crowe and John Hughes. We did watch Almost Famous. I didn’t have to rewatch it because it is so much a part of my memory of growing up. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is Hughes’ “Citizen Kane.” The real heart of the movie is Cameron, that’s where the movie’s heart is. The scene in the museum is beautifully done. It is all about these characters and the things they’re going through. Even though what you remember is the music and the clothes, those movies influenced me more than I knew.

I’m sure everyone wants to know about Mary Kate Olson!

We offered her the role and it was a small role and she thought she could have fun with it. I was really impressed with how down to earth she was. I’d be looking for her between takes and find her in craft services, eating grilled cheese with the grips. And she’s got this amazing charisma! Considering that she’s had such a crazy strange life, it has to be so hard for her. Walking down the street in Sundance, we had this strange group of people, everyone noticed the other guys but they were tripping over snowbanks trying to get her picture. I was glad to show her in a new light. I like the fact that in independent cinema you can take people who have preconceived notions about them and show everyone something new.

Was there a moment in this film that was your starting point for thinking about the story?

The first scene in the film is the first one I wrote, the one where everything began. I started with it four years ago in film school. As everything else was rewritten and edited, this therapy session drugs with exchanged for therapy was the center, and we built the layers around that.

How did the actors change or enlarge your ideas of the characters?

Working with Josh and Olivia was incredible because they brought such realism and a natural grounded feeling to their scenes, something the actors of the John Hughes movies had, the bravery, the willingness to embrace going to every place that you need to go to show a three-dimensional character. Olivia’s character — I don’t claim to understand women. It was incumbent upon her to fill in the blanks, to make her sympathetic in spite of the fact that what she was doing was not very nice. She gave me a new empathy for all the girls in my life, and I am very grateful for that.

Country Sings Disney

posted by Nell Minow

Some of country’s brightest stars sing some of Disney’s most hummable tunes on this new release. It’s a pleasure to hear soundtrack hits like Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway,” from “Cars” and Tim McGraw’s “Wherever the Trail May Lead” from the under-rated “Home on the Range,” but it is the unpredictable choices that make this CD worthwhile. Faith Hill sings Ariel’s “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid” and the wonderful “Dumbo” soundtrack is represented with “When I See an Elephant Fly” from Josh Gracin and “Baby Mine” from SHeDAISY. This is one for kids and parents to enjoy together.

1. Ready, Set, Don’t Go – Billy Ray Cyrus featuring Miley Cyrus
2. Life Is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
3. Wherever the Trail May Lead – Tim McGraw
4. Through Your Eyes – Martina McBride
5. Blue Beyond – Trisha Yearwood
6. You’ll Be in My Heart – Bucky Covington
7. Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Phil Stacey
8. Will the Sun Ever Shine Again – Bonnie Raitt
9. There Is Life – Alison Krauss
10. When I See an Elephant Fly – Josh Gracin
11. Baby Mine – SHeDAISY
12. We Go Together – Little Big Town
13. Part of Your World – Faith Hill
14. Find Yourself – Brad Paisley
15. Real Gone – Billy Ray Cyrus

Dr. Horrible — This Weekend Only!

posted by Nell Minow

Until midnight tomorrow you can watch a new three-act musical from Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly”) online. It is the story of Dr. Horrible (a sensational Neil Patrick Harris) and his nemesis, the very manly Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion of “Firefly” and “Waitress”). And of course there is a girl, Felicia Day as Penny.

Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon says:

So you’ll have to forgive me if I lapse into slavish overpraise here for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the utterly brilliant singing, dancing, Web-only action-adventure you and your brothers have cooked up. I hope it doesn’t sound like hyperbole when I say that Dr. Horrible is better than kittens and sunshine and cheese. Doled in three tantalizing, quarter-hour-long nuggets (the first two went up earlier this week, the conclusion debuts July 19), “Dr. Horrible” stars an impeccably dorky Neal Patrick Harris as a would-be supervillain who pines for his lovely laundromat crush, Penny (a luminous Felicia Day), while battling nemesis and rival Captain Hammer, a musclebound jerk played with idiot bravado by “Firefly’s” Nathan Fillion. Will Horrible create his freeze ray and earn his way into the Evil League of Evil? Will he get the girl? Tuneful, hilarious and, in typical Whedon fashion, unabashedly tender, the only thing wrong with Dr. Horrible is that the damn thing isn’t a regular series.

It has already inspired responses like this one from a would-be sidekick:

After Sunday night, it will be available only on DVD, so watch it online while you can! (NOTE: Brief mature material)

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